Belly Dance Talk Live, August 31st – Choreography Known and Unknown

rozanne-al-jinan-leyla-najma-cane-choreographyUnknown choreography seems to be the missing puzzle piece that stump many dancers. It did me but as I matured in this dance form I realized that sometimes it’s up to me to fill in the missing links. I think in many ways choreography is about creating on another level of thought. It can mathematical in many ways but also the unknown choreography is the equation that only we can figure out. Known choreography in many respects can be like wearing a dress that feels good all over and fits like a dream. We create what fits our bodies but if we forget this, the missing pieces can seem like gigantic holes or an unsolvable equation. Read more

What is Layering?

About Belly Dance Layering - Leyla Najma's Belly Dance Blog

I get asked a lot of questions on belly dance but one that I have found that I don’t get asked  often is regarding “Layering” and what it really is.

Looking at our dance field today, it has changed into an accumulation of personal interests and the pursuit of  relevance for each individual dancer. So layering can be sharp to soft movements or upper body to lower body and many other interpretations in-between. Without layering our dance tends to look a little flat almost one dimensional and you can usually tell an experienced dancer from a novice by her ability to layer in movement.

Layering is also the focal point for the audience that prepares them for each chapter in a story that a dancer tells through out her dance. It’s the dramatic or subtle change in the phrasing in the music interpreted by the dancer. Read more

Let The Flood Gates Open and Feel the Ocean of Change

Let The Flood Gates Open - Leyla Najma's Belly Dance Blog

The biggest reasons for dancing sometimes can be a catalyst that propels us in directions where we free fall and land flat on our feet or end up upside down. This dance is crazy and for the most part we have to be a little insane for wanting to be apart of it. Maybe this is a good thing since the world is so chaotic right now.

I have been dreaming of the Ocean for many weeks and I have come to realize that she represents change happening in my life. Its obvious there is cleansing going on but on a deeper level I feel like I am just about ready to open up a treasure trove of desirable trinkets, romantic dreams, soul emergence and the unthinkable aspirations of a choreographer’s bliss. Read more

Leyla’s Updates

Hip Mastery Connects The Dots ! Leyla Najma's Belly Dance Blog

Hip Mastery 6 Video Series

This morning I was thinking about what I would write in my blog and I thought I would bring the subject up of my Hip Mastery videos only because I haven’t really mentioned them much. I tend to create videos and edit them, give them to Daniel and then move on to the next project. The funny thing is that if Daniel asks me a question regarding a video I usually have to go back and look at it because I have made so many besides my curriculum classes that I am not sure how to answer him sometimes.

There are 6 videos in the Hip Mastery series that focus just on the hips. But the best part is that each video connects to the next one. So I didn’t want students trying to figure out how to work in movement and combinations without a guide. It just seemed to me that most women who are passionate about this dance want instruction that will help them get results.

I realized that living the life style of a belly dancer day in and day out means that there is no rest for the choreographer. I constantly think of combinations and different choreographies to share with dancers, it’s almost like a calling. I would rather make videos for dancers or teach workshops then perform because seeing women in the glory of their movement is where the spirit of belly dance lives for me. It’s in the learning process of moving within our bodies where I see the epiphanies come alive for women. To me the stage is the end result of a beautiful journey but it is so much fun watching women learn and grow along their path before they achieve their goals.

Hip Mastery is my answer to the questions that women have asked me about thrusts, mayas and shimmies. Add in soft moves, traveling steps and you can see why this is a 6 video series. To me they make “Belly Dance sense”.

Here’s the website in case you want to check them out.

Drum Solo Choreography”Jibber Jam”

The drum solo choreography “Jibber Jam” is coming along and I am almost finished with it. My daughters first day of school is coming up so I will be able to finish the choreography and get it videotaped. I have to laugh though because I put together what I thought was a simple drum solo choreography and it’s not as simple as I thought. I am excited to offer music never heard before, text and a step by step choreographed video in a way that will make it easy to learn. This will be so cool once I get it done but as with all my projects it is taking a little longer then I thought. Hopefully within the next two weeks it will be done and I can blare my bugle and sing a song but only in the shower!

Leyla’s Latest News

Leyla's Latest News - Leyla Najma's Belly Dance BlogWeight Loss VS A Performing Art:

For the past year I have been noticing a lot of women are writing in because they want to lose weight. I know belly dancing is a fun way to exercise but the serious dancer in me doesn’t see the connection from learning a cultural dance to losing weight. Obviously any type of cardio is a great way to get into shape but there is a bit of a difference here. As a professional dancer I see belly dance as an expression of individual divine creativity. It’s the self expression of the soul that is my connection to belly dance. But I had to sit back and chew on my feelings for awhile and that is why I decided to do the Belly Stretch-Thrust and Roll exercise class. Another reason is that now that I am in pre-menopause I have found that I have to exercise more to keep the weight off. So this week I am creating a fast paced regimen for everyone that should be a lot of fun!

Jibber Jam

I am in the process of working on a drum solo choreography for dancers and students called Jibber Jam. The drum solo music was a Christmas gift from Daniel 4 years ago composed by Issa Malluf. I am trying to make it something that is easy enough for dancers to follow who aren’t comfortable creating their own choreographies yet. I know that everyone loves drum solos so I thought I would make it first on my “to do” list of new videos. I must say as a spontaneous choreographer this is quite the task for me because as I have been listening to the music my mind wonders and I find I am literally “jamming” to the music.

Book is Almost Done!

I haven’t written much about my book only because it has been a long and thought provoking journey. But I am excited to say that I have only 4 chapters to go and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. But I have to say I haven’t been totally in the dark, I have been flying around with past memories, people and a few giggles. So I’m hoping to get it finished within a couple months and when I do, it will be party time!

Latest Article for Chronicles

I have been writing for Chronicles belly dance magazine for over 3 years now and wrote an article that I’m hoping you all check out in the next issue which will be Oct/Now/Dec. It’s a short article on my view of being a belly dancer and the “Flower of Life” imprint of the Goddess. I think you will all like it and maybe if I get enough interest I might post it here so you all can get a peek at it first before it comes out.

Ciao for now,